Monday, May 6, 2013

Our trials and hardships blow us towards our "promised land"...

Dear Edabody,

So here is my Presidents letter this week:

"I thought a lot about what you said with how you love to see different insights that missionaries have on the Book of Mormon and at first I thought "Oh man, I hope I can find some pretty cool stuff to share with him." I realized that that was the wrong way to go about it haha but since then I do find myself looking deeper into the Book of Mormon, trying to find what the Spirit is telling me. This is one thing that I came across this last week. I have been reading in Ether and in chapter 6 they make their journey across the water. Verse 5 does a good job of describing their experience and it says,  "And it came to pass that the Lord God caused that there should be a furious wind blow upon the face of the waters, towards the promised land; and thus they were tossed upon the waves of the sea before the wind." I like to compare the winds and the waves to the trials that are in all of our lives. I think being stuck inside one of those ships being tossed around like that would seem a little pointless and disorienting. But the verse also says that the winds blew them "towards the promised land," the winds and the waves were pushing them to where they needed to be. Similarly, our trials and hardships blow us towards our "promised land" or help refine us to reach our potential. Sometimes it may seem they are tearing us down more than they are building us up, but after all is said and done we can look back and see how the Lord brought us to where we need to be. It is also cool because the people the whole time were praising God and thanking him for "tender mercies." They were grateful for the little things and they knew that the Lord had their best interest in mind.

Elder Gentry and I have gone through a lot together and that has resulted in us having really good unity. We try everyday to be patient with each other, help each other with our goals and look out for each other. I really feel like I can trust him and confide in him when I really need someone to talk to. That being said, we are still pretty different people, but I think we have learned to respect each others difference and get past any of the little things. I also think that our unity has directly expressed itself in our teaching. We have been trying to include the pamphlets more often in each of our lessons and use the many different uses that the pamphlets provide. They have actually been really helpful when you try to use them more. It has also allowed us to have shorter lessons, by briefly going over something, giving them the pamphlet to review and then discussing it in the next lesson. Not only does this let us see more people, but it helps them to teach themselves. We are still working on and figuring out how best we can use the pamphlets in our teaching, but we are trying a lot of different things. Also with the Book of Mormon, things are going really well. We have always had a pretty big emphasis on the book of Mormon ever since I got here, but since zone conference, we were able to pick up some new ideas to help us use it more effectively.

I will share one tender mercy that happened this week, actually yesterday. So we have this family that we have begun teaching and they have a strong desire to learn more about the gospel. But we have also run into a new problem with them and that is they can hardly read and have difficulty comprehending. They came to church yesterday and they really enjoyed Fast and Testimony meeting. D. and I., the two parents, said they really wanted to get up and bear their testimonies, but they felt too nervous. They said something just kept prompting them to get up and go to the podium... hmm... But Elder Gentry had the great idea to have a little testimony meeting with them right in their house. They loved it! They told us that they felt really really good and we told them that was the spirit. As soon as we told them that their faces lit up and they couldn't believe that a Heavenly being was just in their home. It made me so happy that I was able to be a part of that and it just reinforced to me that this really is the Lords work. They were then pretty sad that we had to leave and asked us if next time we could stay for a little longer. They may have a hard time reading the Book of Mormon right now, but they definitely can now recognize the spirit influencing their lives. It was really cool."

We had Zone Conference this week (it was split up in two parts: Wednesday from 9 to 4 and Thursday from 9 to 2. It was long but really cool.) President Wall asked us to include certain things in our Presidents letters and this is a result of that haha. He also told us that missionaries getting tablet/ipad things is in the works...what what? But in Zone conference we learned how to use the Book of Mormon more effectively and how to use the pamphlets. If you have some of those Mom and Dad, those are really good tools to prepare for missionary work, I had no idea how awesome they can be.

This week was pretty good. We were busy with meetings but we were still able to see quite a few people later in the week. A few bits of news. J., the ab rocket guy, got his license and a brand new car. It is a little scary, especially because we were driving down the street a few days later and he pulled out right in front of us haha Me and Elder Gentry were laughing pretty hard. But I am also happy for him because he has a lot more freedom and he loves it. D. and I. are doing well and they love church and love having us over. They really have a strong desire to come closer to God. I. was really scared to pray at first and would take deep breaths while doing it, but now he asks us if he can pray cause he just thinks it is so cool D. has a hard time reading, but she still works on reading the Book of Mormon everyday. E. is doing really well and we taught him the Plan of Salvation this week. He asked to some really really good questions and he is genuinely and sincerely interested in learning more, that right there is a little miracle. We are trying to get him to church and invite him to be baptized soon. We have a less active member named K. and we asked her a little bit about the Restoration one day and it turned out she didn't remember a lot of it. We gave her the pamphlet and asked her to go through the scriptures and the questions in the back. We followed up with her and not only did she read and answer the questions, but they were really insightful and spot on answers. I was really impressed and she taught me a lot about the restoration. There are just cool things that happen while you are a missionary. There are always the little poopy things that happen, but I am finding that the awesome things really cover those up and that is really a tender mercy from the Lord.

I love you guys so much and think about you all the time. I feel so blessed to have an amazing family that motivates me and gives me answers to prayers. I am looking forward to talking to you guys and also thank you again for the awesome letters! More pictures next week.

Thoughts and Prayers always :)

Elder Devin Soper

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